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Assessing Speaking and Listening Skills

Assessing speaking skills

What is speaking?
Speaking is an interactive process of constructing meaning that involves producing and receiving and processing information (Brown, 1994; Burns & Joyce, 1997).




Basic Types of Speaking



Source: Brown, D

Imitative: Word repetition Task (repeat after me)

Intensive: Read-Aloud Tasks, Sentence Dialogue completion tasks and oral questionnaires, PictureCued Tasks, translation.

Source: Brown, H., 2004. Language Assessment Principles and Classroom Practices.

Responsive: Question/answer, giving instructions and directions, Paraphrasing.

Interactive: Interview, Role Play, Discussions and Conversations, Games

Set up an interview
Interviews: (stages) Warm up: 1. small talk Level check: the test taker 2. answers Wh-questions 3 produce a narrative without interruptions 4 reads a passage outloud 5 Tells how to make something or do something 6 engages in a brief, controlled, guided role play Probe: The test-taker: 7 responds to interviewers questions about something the test taker doesnt know and is planning to include in an article or paper. 8 talks about his or her own field of study or profession. 9 engages in a longer, more open-ended role play (e.g. simulates a difficult of embarrassing situation) with the interviewer. 10 gives an impromptu presentation on some aspect of test-takers field. Wind down: 11 feeling about the interview, information or results, further questions

Extensive: Oral presentations, Picture-Cued StoryTelling, Retelling a Story or News Event

Oral Presentations
Specify the criterion Set appropriate tasks Optimal output Practical, reliable scoring


Source: Brown, H., 2004. Language Assessment Principles and Classroom Practices.

Assessing Listening Skills

Types of Listening
Intensive: phonemes, words, intonation Responsive: a greeting, command, question Selective: TV , radio news items, stories Extensive: listening for the gist, the main idea, making inference

Designing Assessment Tasks : Intensive Listening 1. Recognizing Phonological & Morphological Elements a. Phonemics pair, consonants
Test-takers read : a. Hes from California b. Shes from California

b. Phonemics pair, vowels

Test-takers read : a. Is he leaving ? b. Is he living?

c. Morphological pair, -ed ending

Test-takers read : a. I missed you very much b. I miss you very much

d. Stress Pattern in cant

Test-takers read : a. My girlfriend cant go to the party b. My girlfriend can go to the party

e. One-word stimulus
Test-takers read : a. vine b. wine

2. Paraphrase Recognition a. Sentence paraphrase

Test-takers read : a. Keiko is comfortable in Japan b. Keiko wants to come to Japan c. Keiko is Japanese d. Keiko likes Japan

b. Dialogue paraphrase

Test-takers read : a. Tracy lives in the United States b. Tracy is American c. Tracy comes from Canada d. Maria is Canadian

Designing Assessment Tasks : Responsive Listening 1. Appropriate response to a question

Test-takers read : a. In about an hour. b. About an hour c. About $10 d. Yes, I did

2. Open-ended response to a question

Test-takers read write or speak :_______________

A number of techniques have been used that require selective listening.

Listening Cloze Information Transfer Sentence Repetition

Listening Cloze (cloze dictations or partial dictations)

It requires the test-taker to listen a story monologue, or conversation and simultaneously read the written text in which selected words or phrases have been selected In a listening cloze task, test-takers see a transcript of the passage that they are listening to and fill in the blanks with the words or phrases that they hear

Test-takers write the missing words or phrases in the blanks Flight gate

to Portland will depart from at P.M

to Reno will depart at P.M from gate seventeen

Information Transfer
Information transfer: multiple-picture-cuedselection Information transfer: single-picture-cuedverbal-multiple-choice

Information transfer: chart-filling

Information transfer: multiple-picture-cued-selection

Information transfer: single-picture-cuedverbal-multiple-choice

Information transfer: chart-filling

Monday 8:00 10:00 12:00 2:00 get up Tuesday get up Wednesday get up Thursday get up Friday get up Weekends


Sentence Repetition
The task of simply repeating a sentence or a partial sentence, or sentence repetition, is also used as an assessment of listening comprehension

Some extensive listening comprehension tasks

1. Dictation: widely researched genre of assessing listening comprehension > 50 100 words > recited 3 times: normal speed, long pauses between phrases, normal speed

Difficulty can be manipulated by:

The length of the word group The length of pauses The speed Complexity of the discourse, grammar and vocabulary Scoring (spelling, grammatical, additional words, replacement)

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